increase your odds kayak fishing
A good-sized mangrove jack caught on a Savage Gear Top Prey surface walker.

Increasing your odds via kayak

increase your odds kayak fishing
Leeah Bahr with a cracking 50cm mangrove jack.
increase your odds kayak fishing
A surprising capture that shows how versatile surface fishing can be.
increase your odds kayak fishing
Leeah with a solid popper-caught yellowfin bream.
increase your odds kayak fishing
A healthy yellowfin bream hooked while slowly retrieving a surface walker at dusk.

THE new year has once again kicked off at a pace many of us cannot keep up with, but among the frantic rush of the ‘silly season’ a fisher must get his or her fix, regardless of the crowds.

How might you improve your odds in a time of mayhem when enough boats are on the water to require a traffic controller in the boating channels? It’s always great to see so many people getting out and about and enjoying the beautiful waterways on offer, but I always try to travel far and wide to escape the crowds. Busy boat ramps are always painful but from a fishing point of view, lots of people means lots of lines in the water as well as wash and noise generated by boat traffic.

For most, these factors are of little concern, but for those striving for some rod-bending action, some things need to be considered when heading out in the holiday period. Boat traffic is often the reason for poor fishing. Sounds behave very differently under water, and the sound of an outboard engine to a fish may be the equivalent of a plane or helicopter flying low over your house. These noises quickly spook most fish causing them to shut down, seek shelter and not think about feeding for the period following.

These reactions may be vastly different between fish species, but in general, artificial noise doesn’t help fishing. Fishing from our tandem kayak, my girlfriend Leeah and I spend nearly every weekend exploring new spots in search of that hidden gem. This ensures we take a stealthy approach to fishing and keep clear of crowds to give us the best odds.

We generally try to head to the most remote spots over the holidays to give us the best chance of a successful fishing trip. When this isn’t possible but a day on the water is, heading out bright and early is always the best bet, as is fishing away from the main boating passages.

Not long after the new year began, we travelled just under an hour from the holiday craziness to a destination that has produced some great captures. The small creek system ticks all the boxes, with plenty of structure and an abundance of bait, so it’s no wonder fish are present! This system, like many, doesn’t truly come alive until dusk, when the roar of cicadas in the surrounding trees comes alive and the baitfish frantically flee from predators left, right and centre.

If only we had the power to freeze time at dusk. Often we have fished all day with little to show until the sun drops below the treeline and it is as though a dinner bell has rung, causing a feeding frenzy. Surface lures are ideal during this time, and both poppers and surface walkers do the job. How you retrieve the lure is species specific.

Mangrove jack and other aggressive predatory fish generally favour a fast or constant retrieve, while fish including bream tend to bite on long pauses and often have a number of small hits at the lure before finally going in for the kill. To figure out the best technique on the day, mix it up each cast until something works. Fishing during prime bite times such as dawn and dusk is definitely key to achieving hits on the surface, but finding destinations that have minimal impact from noise is a necessity, especially during peak times.

Most of all, get out there and enjoy the time you have on the water. Summer is the time to do it. The water is warm, the sun is out and the fish are firing!

Put in the effort and you will be rewarded.   fishing odds fishing odds fishing odds

About Joel Johnson

Joel is blessed with the fish-rich coastline and waterways surrounding the Bundaberg region. With an array of options and possibilities around, he favours the shallow flats and small creeks and specialises mostly in lure fishing. Joel loves to broaden his abilities with new concepts and techniques, so feel free to email him at

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